UK Government prohibits gambling firm sponsorship after Wembley sale

IGT 169 BETTING BUSINESS MARKETING WEMBLEY
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The UK government has advanced plans to prohibit gambling company sponsorship at Wembley Stadium, following its proposed £600m sale to Fulham FC owner Shahid Khan.

The proposal follows an ongoing reduction in gambling involvement for Wembley, which last year saw the “home of English football” terminate its £4m sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes.

“We’re selling an asset with real restrictions,” said FA chief executive Martin Glenn, before adding that the association is “still some way off whether we’ve got a commercial deal that works.”

When first opened in 2006, the stadium, under the commercial eye of the FA, agreed a four year partnership with BetFred, marketing the betting firm as Wembley’s official bookmaker.

However, the current drawing away from sponsorship by betting firms reflects what Glenn termed a “change of policy around gambling.”

Any potential sale would also include the stipulation that the sale of naming rights is to be prohibited until 2057.

“Anyone buying the stadium can’t change the name,” said Glenn, “and has to keep it to a certain quality, has to keep the grass pitch.”

The deal is expected to be agreed by the FA’s ten-member board before 2019, with the association proposing the construction of 1,500 artificial pitches nationwide.


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